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Linda Brent and Jim: Two Slaves a World Apart - Term Paper Example

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This paper describes Harriet Jacobs’s autobiography Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in which describes aspects of the story of slavery and teach important lessons about history and racism. …
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Linda Brent and Jim: Two Slaves a World Apart
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Download file to see previous pages As a work of fiction written by a white man years after the Civil War, Huck Finn gives a slightly sanitized view of slavery. To some extent, the book does portray a realistic situation. Jim’s story was based on a common occurrence before the Civil War in Missouri along the Mississippi River, where Mark Twain lived. Many slaves would have tried to escape in a similar manner, often for the same reasons. Jim escapes because he is about to be sold “down the river,” to New Orleans, where slaves are treated far more brutally. He would also be permanently taken away from his wife and his children. Despite all this, Jim’s experiences are toned-down in comparison to Linda’s in Incidents. Jim says his owner, Miss Watson, treated him “pooty rough,” but does not go into much detail about this (Twain 53). The suffering Jim has endured, and would endure in if he were to be sent to New Orleans, is never fully described. Part of the reasoning for this is that Huck Finn is the sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a children’s book. It is told from the point of view of Huck, a child, and a white boy who does not fully understand the implications of slavery. It wouldn’t have been appropriate for Twain to describe the most disturbing parts of slavery in a book that might appeal to children, and it probably would have upset audiences for Huck to know too much about such an emotionally troubling subject. The book was written after slavery had ended, and it was not intended as an abolitionist text or a polemic against slavery. Instead it was meant to be the coming-of-age tale of a boy learning to see the humanity in someone society had proclaimed a non-person. There was no reason for Twain to describe the most brutal details of slavery when descriptions of Jim’s fear and sadness would be enough to make him a sympathetic character without making the story too dark for the intended audience. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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